Friday, February 21, 2014

Discipline Don'ts

We do our best but sometimes our discipline falls short, in some cases it totally backfires. 
You know the drill. You give you tell your child to do something, let's say eat dinner. But they don't do it. You repeat it and it still doesn't happen. You try to negotiate. If you eat you can get dessert. But nothing. You give make a threat. "If you don't eat your dinner you can't go with us to the movies" . "Fine", he says. Boom backfire!  
Honestly there are times when you must put your foot down but in many cases some fights just aren't worth fighting. Will it really effect your child having mismatched socks? The trick is... to choose choose when you make a stand and to do it wisely and not fall into some discipline parenting traps.
Here are some Discipline Don'ts:

#1. Don't lie to get your way.

My youngest LOVES the ice-cream truck. She actually wants to be a ice cream truck driver when she grows up. But remembering the battles to keep my oldest indoors when she heard the telltale song announcing the overpriced prepackaged sugar ridden junk making it's way down the street I decided to curb that early with my little one. "The ice-cream man plays music when he's out of ice-cream so kids know not to come out and chase him down." In 5 years I have never once bought an ice-cream from one of the truck that circle the neighborhood. 
 Little fibs (ok, maybe mine wasn't so little) may get you what you want now but at some point you will get caught. I have no idea what I'm going to say when I get busted. I realize I probably should have just been honest. Sure with young kids giving logical reasons don't always hit home but saying what your decision is and why in terms they can  understand is better than teaching them that sometimes it is ok to lie. "Honey, the ice-cream truck costs money and mommy doesn't want to spend money on junk food this time but if you get happy faces in school for a whole week, you can get some another day as a treat". 
#2. Don't give in.
"Please?" says your kid. "I said No," you reply. "Why not?" "Not now," you say. "Please!" (Insert tears, sad face, etc) "FINE!"
Congratulations. You just taught your child that she can get you to change your mind. And why not? Isn't it sometimes easier to give in then to argue? Sure but that is why it is important to pick your battles.
If you are putting your foot down about something that you may change your mind about given enough resistance you probably didn't need to put your foot down in the first place. 
No parent wants to be the bad guy or have their kid upset with them but if you give your child an instruction "Do not jump on the bed". But if they keep doing it and you keep saying "If you don't stop jumping on the bed you are going into timeout" your child thinks, mommy will keep telling me not to until I really have to stop.
If you give them an instruction, then a warning you need to give them their consequence. Otherwise you are showing them that mommy may not follow through. They have to learn that you will do as you say and it also teaches them that they not only should do as they are told but they learn that it is important to do as they say too. 
#3. Don't bribe.
It is so easy to get my kid to eat if I just offer her dessert. I can get her to leave a store easily if I promise her a small toy if she doesn't cry. Sure she seems like an angel but that's because she learned early on that her behavior could be dependent upon treats.
I'll admit, it was 100% my fault but when bribery works so well it's hard not to do it. 
Instead of bribery which just has very negative connotations (I'll give you this if you don't do that) your child should learn that good behavior is expected, not negotiable. Rather than offer candy for being good while with the babysitter, praise your child and tell them how proud you are that they behaved like such a big kid in the store. 
It may take a while to break them of the urge to negotiate rewards for what they should be doing anyway but once you break this habit you will be much happier and your child will actually become more grateful for the occasional reward. 
#4. Don't freak out!
I have done it. You have done it. We all get overwhelmed and sometimes we FREAK OUT!!! We are only human. But try not to do it in front of the kids. Yelling, screaming, throwing adult tantrums just shows them that the exact behavior you discourage in them is ok in you. 
If you have to step away do it. Let the kiddo cry, take a moment for yourself.
And remember we all want to freak out from time to time and it's ok to do it... just avoid doing it in front of the children. 
#5. Don't over do it. 
Have you ever been lectured to the point that you can't even really grasp what is being said? You just sort of space out. Kids do that too. All the time. So don't over do the lectures. 
Regardless of age, tell your child why you are upset, what they did and what thier punishment is and be done. Going on and on actually takes away the impact of what you are saying. 
With my oldest I have to address the situation immediately, give her punishment and be done. The more I explain the ins and outs and whys of her crime the less she really cares because she gets to the point where hearing me carry on is punishment enough! She actually looks forward to being sent to her room so I can stop lecturing. 
Likewise punishments should fit the child, their age and the crime. Be reasonable. Is forgetting to do one homework assignment really worth a week of restriction? Or could a night of doing extra credit fix the problem and teach the lesson? If your child threw a toy does taking the toy away for a week work better than a time out? If a punishment goes to long the child becomes desensitized to it. 
So just don't over do it. 
#6 Don't be a bad example. 
I have a potty mouth. I admit it. Luckily my kids don't repeat what I say because they learned early on that only adults say bad words (which I know I shouldn't say in front of them but oh well). But if (or should I say when) one goes to school and drops the F-bomb they hear so often at home... who's really to blame?
If a child is spanked when they do something wrong they are more likely to hit a peer over a disagreement. After all, they learned that spanking is a means of redirecting bad behavior. 
This one is easy. Just be a good example.

A lot of these things I have learned from personal experience. In fact I learn new "dos and do nots" every day. I actually learn more of what NOT TO DO then what TO DO but that's part of parenting. I'm not perfect, in fact, I'm sure you have some to add to this list. If so I encourage  you to do so. Share with me. I love learning from other moms. But if this article helps you correct even one Discipline Don't then I'm glad I wrote it. And your child will be too. (I know mine were happy I gave myself these reminders!)

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Italian Elvis (From Food Network Magazine)

The Italian Elvis

This was my first recipe I did out of my Food Network Magazine Bacon Edition
So I made this bad boy last night. WOW! It really didn't taste like a dinner. It was so rich and delicious it was almost like a dessert! But we still ate if for dinner and LOVED it! 
I also threw in a side of sweet potato fries with it. 

It was absolutely amazing. Messy, but amazing. 
I of course doubled the amount of bacon on hubby's and my sandwich because ahead and whipped up a pound instead of just 12 slices. 

Recipe courtesy of Jeff Mauro

for Food Network Magazine

Total Time: 25 min
Prep:5 min
Cook: 20 min
Yield:4 servings


12 slices bacon
2 bananas
1 cup mascarpone cheese
6 tablespoons chocolate-hazelnut spread
8 thick slices crusty white bread
Salted butter, for the bread


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the bacon slices side by side on a parchment-lined baking sheet; bake until crisp, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, place the bananas in a small bowl and mash with a fork until smooth. Fold in the mascarpone until combined.

Spread a thick layer of chocolate-hazelnut spread on 4 bread slices, then top each with 3 bacon slices. Spread the banana-mascarpone mixture on the remaining 4 bread slices, then place on top to make 4 sandwiches.

Spread butter on both sides of the sandwiches. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, cook the sandwiches on each side until GBD-golden brown and delicious.

Photography by Johnny Miller

Monday, February 10, 2014

Zig-Zag Blanket

This is my most recently finished project. Twin size Crochet afghan for my son. 
The original Pattern "Easy Ripple Afghan"  from was my inspiration for this.

This is a fairly easy pattern. If you can double crochet you should have this with nor problem. 
I did do a lot larger than the pattern since my son wanted this to be for his bead. I basically doubled the pattern and gauged the length and width by eye. It came out perfect. Here is the pattern for the 

East Rippled Afghan from  Hand Crafting with Love 

Materials needed:

    • 20 skeins of worsted weight yarn for a Twin Size blanket. I chose Vanna's Choice  I used 5 skeins of each color in 4 different colors ( I used True Black, Dark Gray, Medium Sterling Gray, and Crisp White but you can use more colors or less, they can blend or be totally different. Get creative!) Use more or less depending on the size you want. For information on smaller blankets you can see East Rippled Afghan from  Hand Crafting with Love 
    • Crochet hook size G (You can change your hook size to get the feel you want.)

Stitches Used:

ch - chain
dc - double crochet
yo - yarn over

Special Stitches: 
3 st dec - 3 stitch decrease (also known as: dc3tog)
*yo, insert hook through next stitch, yo and pull loop through stitch, yo and pull through first 2 loops on hook; Repeat from * twice. Yo and pull through remaining 4 loops on hook.
2 st dec - 2 stitch decrease (also known as: dcdec or dc2tog)
*yo, insert hook through next stitch, yo and pull loop through stitch, yo and pull through first 2 loops on hook; Repeat from * once. Yo and pull through remaining 3 loops on hook.


Chain a multiple of 16 stitches plus 2 extra stitches.

Row 1: Dc in 3rd ch from hook; dc in next 6 ch, 3 dc in next ch, dc in next 6 ch; *work 3 st dec in next 3 ch, dc in next 6 ch, 3 dc in next ch, dc in next 6 ch; Repeat from * across. End by working 2 st dec in last 2 ch. Ch 2 and turn.

Row 2: Skip first stitch; dc in next 7 dc, 3 dc in next dc, dc in next 6 dc; *work 3 st dec in next 3 stitches, dc in next 6 dc, 3 dc in next dc, dc in next 6 dc; Repeat from * across. End by working 2 st dec in last 2 dc. Ch 2 and turn.

Now just repeat Row 2 until your project is the length you want it! Change the colors as often as you like. I did every two rows, you may choose to do every one, or do every 2, then 4, then 6, etc. Again... GET CREATIVE! 

Note: I did as the original pattern suggested and changed colors at the end of the row when working the 2 st dec. You drop the current yarn when you have the 3 loops still on your hook. Then yarn over with new color and pull through 3 loops. Then Ch 2 and turn and keep working. It creates a seamless transition between colors. 
Leave 5 or 6 inch ends of each color of yarn to weave in.

Weave all yarn ends in securely.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Food Network Magazine and it's all about.... BACON!!!

I'm not much of a romantic. In fact one of the most romantic things my husband has ever done was bring me a beer and plate of bacon when I was soaking in the tub. I'm just not a softy which can be hard because hubby is. He tries to do little sweet things for me. So when he brought home the Food Network magazine all about my very favorite meat in the world it meant more then shitty flowers ever would. 

So now I plan to work my way through this magazine because I apparently want to die young from corroded arteries. Honestly though I eat so much bacon it's not going to make much of a difference. 

But in my defense I will say I liked bacon before it became popular. You know what I mean. I eat bacon daily. I was covering bacon in chocolate before the fair started selling it. I was scarfing a pound down at breakfast long before you could by bacon scented air fresheners (which I do have in my car).  My kids love bacon. When B was just 5 she said she wanted to change her middle name to Bacon. 

My whole family LOVES bacon. Bacon is in our blood. Seriously. If you cut us we bleed grease. Sure it isn't healthy but it's damn delicious! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The marks teachers leave.

There are few jobs in this world as important as a teachers. I'm not talking about jobs like being a mom or anything. I mean the jobs you go to school for, apply for and get paid for.

But I don't think teachers understand the incredible power they have over their pupils. An exceptional teacher, whether exceptionally good or bad, leaves a mark on a young person that can stay with them their entire lives,

I come from a family of educators and county employees who work with and for schools and this post isn't about how under paid or in some cases under appreciated teachers and school staff are. It's about the teachers that leave a mark.

Many adults couldn't go back and give the names of every teacher they had during their education. But I bet they can remember their favorite and the one who made them miserable.

My first grade teacher, Mrs. Fiol was amazing. She saw something in me and would give me extra work to challenge me, she praised me. She made me LOVE to learn. I realize it was only first grade but I honestly owe my love of books and writing to her. I actually tried to fail during the last semester of school so I could repeat the first grade. Thankfully she figured out my plan and informed me that if I did get held back she wouldn't be my teacher a second time. She was the teacher that you went back to visit. How i adored her.

But then there was Mrs. Meyers. I had the terrible luck of being in gifted, which shouldn't have been bad except it sentenced me to spending the majority of my elementary school years with the same miserable, hateful women. This lady hated me. Maybe it was because other teachers loved me she felt she needed to balance the scales. Maybe she was just a bad person. I never found out.

This "educator" did more to educate me on the nature of cruelty then on any mathematical principle. She would openly mock my hair (which was burned off in a freak perm accident since I was an 80's kid), she would blatantly lie making up behavior issues and send me to other teachers because she couldn't handle me. When the other teachers would ask her why or defend me saying I was such an easy child to work with she'd call my parents and make up new fabrications about me.

She made me suspicious of adults. I couldn't wrap my young head around how this woman could be so mean to me for no reason and the harder I tried the more I would receive her wrath. If she could be so mean and such a liar maybe Mrs. Fiol was one of a kind and grown ups were much more like her.

I have tried a few times in my adult years to look her up. I honestly want to her to answer to her treatment of me. What did I do to deserve her insults and hate? Now that I'm an adult does she still think she can bully me? Does she feel ashamed of her behavior towards a child? Does she even think she did anything wrong?

I may never find out the reason Mrs, Susan G Meyers decided to go into a field where she was so miserable that she felt the need to terrorize a child who up until meeting her loved to learn. I doubt I was the first student she treated this way, sadly I doubt I was the last. But I am a firm believer in karma and I am sure whether I ever get to confront that demon or not she has gotten what she deserves.

Sure it bothers me a little knowing that I have probably thought about her many more times than I have ever crossed her mind but that is my point.

My son has  a teacher this year who he says hates him. When I asked why he said, "She hates everyone". That made me sad and I told him about Mrs. Meyers, the scourge Mendenhall Elementary. I told him in his life he will have teachers that he doesn't like and he will have teachers that don't even leave an impression... but he will also have some that leave a mark. They will leave a good mark that he will have always. Teachers are just people. Some are mean, some are not... but some are almost like heroes in disguise. And that's when I told him about Mrs Fiol. And he told me about Mrs. Z.

Mrs. Z is his Mrs. Fiol. He loves her class, she writes me notes praising his manners, his work. She is leaving her mark on my son.

When you teach a child you leave a mark... and in some cases scars. The responsibility you have as a teacher is to make a positive impact on a child. To leave them better than you found them,  to teach them and to care for them.

If you can't do that... If you don't want to do that... don't take up the responsibility. And for those who do teach, love their jobs or at least the kids and leave a positive mark... to Mrs. Fiol, Mrs. Z and the others... Thank You.

Monday, January 27, 2014

I may have to start using this one...

It's about more than the shoes!

Last week I took my son to buy a pair of cleats for baseball and some sneakers. As we shopped for the sneakers I was clear that he had the final say so on what he got. Obviously I wasn't going to let him get a $200 pair of shoes but if the price was reasonable and he liked them that was all that I cared about. 
After shopping for a while the only ones he liked were not in his size. I told him over and over we could go to a different store. As we were leaving we stopped by the clearance rack where we found a nice looking pair of New Balance for just $30 in his size. I asked if he liked them and he said he wasn't sure so I told him to try them on. He did and decided he liked them. I asked him at least a dozen times if he was sure those were the shoes he wanted (since I knew his taste was usually more towards Jordans) and he kept assuring me he did.

The next day he wore them and they looked good.

The following day though he was wearing his old ratty shoes again. I asked why and after literally dragging it out of him he said he doesn't like the new shoes. I asked him when he decided he didn't like them and he said at the store, before I even paid for them. I asked if there were any other reasons and he said no. I wasn't happy. 

The last night I spoke to him. I explained that though $30 may not be much to him some kids will never own a new pair of shoes period. And he could have told me at any point prior to wearing them that he didn't want them and I could have returned them. I asked him why he'd lie. After more prying he said his friends didn't like them either. I told him that was not a good reason to not wear something especially something he said he wanted. He again said he never wanted them, he just wanted to make me happy.
I told him I am not happy now. So since he made the decision to not be honest with me or to stand up to his friends I am making him wear the shoes. If he truly hates them (as he says he does) he should have said something to me. 

This isn't about the shoes. It's about being honest, standing up for yourself (even to you parents in a respectful way) and accepting the repercussions of your decisions. 

My compromise was he has to wear the new shoes 2 days each week... IN PUBLIC. He said I am being unfair and said he should have to wear them for 3 days and then never again. I told  him he's just not getting it. It's about more than the shoes, it's about building character and being the type of person people respect and making the right choice and accepting what happens when you don't.